Leveraging Big Data: Better Online Experience, Better Guest Experience Overall
By Mark Simpson President & Founder, Maxymiser | June 16, 2013
For more and more hospitality marketers, the online booking and reservations site has become a critical and all-important touch point. For the guest, the online portal is often the very first contact with the brand or the property. Online is also an ongoing resource for the frequent guest, and the returning customer.
As hospitality companies are discovering, optimizing this online experience – making it personalized, relevant, friction-free – can carry over into the guests' overall experience during the stay, boosting revenue and increasing loyalty. What happens on the site, can profoundly affect what happens on the property, and how often guests will return.
That's where so-called Big Data comes in. Big Data is the in vogue marketing buzz word for the vast amounts of data on customers and site visitors that can be captured from a brand's online site and other resources. The idea is, having such a trove of data about customer history and behavior should give the marketer invaluable insights into what guests want, how to attract them, how to sell to them, and how exactly to keep this guest coming back.
What's the ideal way to set up your 'date' selector? What types of photos of the property work best? What type of information should you ask of a guest? When should you mention promos? When in the process should you ask about preferences or activities or special needs? How should you stay in touch? Naturally, answering such questions with hard data and evidence – all gleaned from Big Data – should be far more effective than going on hunches and guesswork.
The hard part, though, is somehow harnessing all those terabytes of data (which may come in several forms, from different sources) into something meaningful. And then, in translating that meaningful information into real ideas that you can try, test, and experiment with.
Fortunately, there are technologies and tools that make it much easier to find the gold hidden in terabytes of data - and to use that information to optimize your online marketing so it carries forward into your overall guest experience.